Thomas Allen Knight

Published 2:23 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2023

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Thomas Allen Knight, age 89, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, July 31, 2023, at his home in Bogalusa. Tom was born on September 21, 1934, in Bogalusa, LA.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Delos Laverne and Ruth Vineyard Knight of Bogalusa and his brother, Richard Finley Knight of Mandeville.

Tom is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” Knight, and his children, Kerry Knight Milton (Danny) of Covington, LA, Kara Lea Sweeting (Danny) of Nashville, TN, Kyle Knight (Linda), and Keenan Knight (Pam) of Bogalusa, LA; seven grandchildren, Tyler Milton (Lauren), Cameron Sweeting, Olivia Milton, Haley Knight, Emma Knight, Sophia Knight, Liza Sweeting, and one great grandchild, Conner Milton. He is also survived by other relatives which include his brother, Delos Knight (Margaret) of Alpharetta, GA and sister-in-law, MaryAnn Haeussler of Phoenix, AZ as well as many relatives on both sides of Tom and Betsy’s family and a number of devoted friends.

In his long life, Tom was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and a friend to many. He lived most of his life in Bogalusa with the exception of his time at LSU and in the beginning of his architectural career when he worked in New York and Texas for a period. While working in New York, he met and married Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” Haeussler of Mount Marian, New York. Tom and Betsy made their life and home together in Bogalusa where he started a business, and they raised their four children.

In his professional life, Tom partnered with college friend, Norman Koonce, to establish Knight and Koonce Architects in Bogalusa. During his career, he designed churches of all denominations, schools, commercial buildings, unique residential projects and the well-known Studio in the Country where many music artists have recorded. He was an active member of the American Institute of Architects until his retirement from the profession in his 70’s.

Tom was talented at many things. In his younger days, he excelled in academics and sports. He particularly enjoyed basketball and played while in school and later coached boy’s church league for more than 20 years before eventually playing in the affectionately named “Old Men’s League” at the YMCA. On weekends when his children were young, you would often find him leading day hikes or bike trips with his and other neighborhood children in tow. His grandchildren often played spirited games of four square and competitive monopoly with him. He enjoyed working with and mentoring many Bogalusa youth, passing on his work ethic and enthusiasm for any project he undertook. The phrase “If you are going to do something, do it well” sums up how he approached most endeavors.

During his lifetime, Tom was active in many organizations in service of his community, church and profession including, the Bogalusa Rotary Club where he served on multiple service and scholarship committees, was a former board member and president and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Internationals highest honor; 1995 Distinguished Service Award and Bogalusa Citizen of the Year; Washington Parish Economic Development Foundation; WIDF Board of Directors, Grant Writing Committee and Industrial Prospect Team; past chair and member of the Facilities Committee for the Washington Parish Art’s Exhibition; past president of the Bogalusa Chamber of Commerce; past chairman of the United Way of Bogalusa and his beloved ESM United Methodist Church where he served in many roles over the years. As a lifelong member of ESM, Tom sang on Sundays with the choir and taught adult Sunday school class for 50 years. He had a keen interest in history and loved studying the bible and bringing that to life for his class with the use of drawings, maps and the like.

An avid music lover, he played many instruments including the piano, guitar, bongo drum and accordion to name a few. He has entertained many with his part in the Sullivan Quartet and /or music by piano or accordion at Rest Haven Nursing Home. He was also a member of the 106- voice Northshore Performing Arts Choir for many years. After retiring from business, Tom built an art studio where he indulged in his love of drawing and painting. To his delight, ESM church still uses one of his renderings as the cover to the weekly church bulletin. He generously shared his interest in traveling with Betsy, his children and grandchildren on many well researched and planned trips to interesting places around the world. He kept detailed journals of each trip with not only photos but beautiful pen and ink drawings from the places he visited.

Tom and Betsy’s home has always been a welcome and lively gathering spot for family members and friends. Tom lived his life to the fullest, always being there for those he loved. In his last few years, he was held close and loved immensely by his beloved Betsy, his family and friends. He was one of a kind and will be forever missed.

The family would like to thank the many friends who have prayed and helped in various ways, wonderful caregivers including Damon Augustine and Remmy Jones and for love and support by the St. Tammany Home Health, Palliative Care and Hospice teams. In lieu of flowers, Tom’s family suggest donations to the ESM United Methodist Church in Bogalusa, The Alzheimer’s Association or St. Tammany Hospice / Home Health and Palliative Care.

Visitation will be held at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial United Methodist Church (510 Ave. B, Bogalusa) on Friday, August 4, 2023, from 12:00 PM until the service at 2:00 PM. Interment to follow at Ponemah Cemetery.

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